This coming Monday, May 30, is not just another Monday. It’s a day that for the past few decades has become known to us as Memorial Day -- the day set aside for the purpose of honoring and remembering those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice while serving this country.
So often the day’s true meaning gets lost in translation.
This is not a day to celebrate ... it’s not the day that so many feel is for advertising great deals -- the blowout sale on vehicles or microwaves or sofas.
It’s the day to humbly remember. It’s the day to honor those who have died defending the freedoms we all enjoy on a day-to-day basis.
The origins of Memorial Day go back more than a century when Commander in Chief John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic issued what was called General Order Number 11, designating the day “for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land.”
Over the course of the past century-plus, the meaning of the day has remained, but has been skewed by many. Originally known as Decoration Day, it was changed a few decades back to Memorial Day ... again, the meaning didn’t change ... only the name.
Now that it’s a federal holiday, many use the day off from work as an excuse to celebrate. Again, that’s not the message of the day.
This coming Monday the local American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars posts will be traveling to area cemeteries for the annual Memorial Day programs for veterans who have died defending our country.
Have you attended one of these ceremonies lately?
You should consider doing so.
If you do, you will find that it’s a humbling, important experience.
We would venture to guess that there isn’t a person in St. Croix County or the New Richmond area who hasn’t been affected by war; who hasn’t known someone who has served. Many of us know someone who gave their life for their country in battle.
This Memorial Day, take the time to get out to one of cemeteries to remember.
If you can’t, take a few moments to reflect on what the day really means. We live in the greatest country in the world protected by heroes.
Raymond T. Rivard, editor